Listen to “Twice Removed,” a Family History Podcast hosted by A.J. Jacobs

A.J. Jacobs is a well-known author who has been mentioned before numerous times in this newsletter. See for the past articles about him. He was the host of the world’s largest family reunion, the bestselling author of “The Year of Living Biblically,” in which he attempted to follow the literal words of the Bible for a year, and “Drop Dead Healthy,” where he tried out every diet plan and workout. Now he has a new venture and it looks like and sounds like a good one.

twice-removed“Twice Removed” is a podcast that is described as sort of like “Finding Your Roots” with a mystery twist. In each episode, A.J. Jacobs takes a well-known figure and tells each about their most interesting ancestors and relatives. And at the end, he reveals how each guest is related to a mystery guest, and then introduces them live in the studio. (It could be a hero of theirs, an old boss, a mentor, etc.)

I listened to the first episode and was delighted to learn that Jacobs found criminals amongst the guest’s ancestors. Not small-time crooks, but true Chicago gangsters.

So far, “Twice Removed” is number 13 on the top podcast chart on iTunes and that is amongst some heavy competition! I don’t have any figures to back up my belief but I suspect that “Twice Removed” is already the most popular genealogy podcast in the world and that is after only one episode! Proof or not, I cannot think of any other genealogy podcast that is higher than number 13 on the top podcast chart on iTunes.

“Twice Removed” is professionally produced. The first full episode is a bit more than one hour long and I suspect subsequent podcasts will be about the same length.

To listen to “Twice Removed” or to download it to your podcast player, go to


Is there an app involved here. Best I could determine you subscribe to the podcast, which marks it so each podcast is downloaded when it is released, but then you have to look for it under iTunes, Music, Podcasts. That seems counter intuitive…uh, hard to find. Did I miss something here?


    —> Did I miss something here?

    With iTunes Podcasts, there are several different ways of listening to them. The simplest method I know of is to go to the podcast on iTunes with your Macintosh or Windows systems by clicking on the link in the article above, then clicking on the podcast link itself. Two or three seconds later, the podcast will start playing through your computer’s speakers.

    There are other ways of automatically downloading all new episodes to your iPod, iPad, Android, or other music players. In each case, you will need to consult the users manual for your device as each device will probably have different instructions from other devices.


You can also listen via the web or on Spotify or Google Play.


I clicked the link in the article, but did not see a link to the podcast. I clicked a few things that looked like a link, but nothing went to the podcast. Disappointed.


    I just double-checked and the podcast worked perfectly for me again. I listened to the entire podcast on December 19 before writing the article. I just listened to the first minute or so of the podcast again right now to verify that nothing has changed.

    You might want to double-check your computer to see if it can listen to other podcasts. If so, then try again with this one. Also, a second episode has since been added.


I downloaded itunes and listened to nearly all of the number 2 podcast on my Windows 7 computer but I missed the last few minutes when the mystery guest was revealed. I can’t figure out how to fast forward to the (almost) end to where I left off. I don’t have a smart phone of any kind. I have googled the problem and still can’t find the fast forward button.


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